Girls Like Us
Girls Like Us is packed with fierce, eloquent, and deeply intelligent poetry focused on female identity and the contradictory personas women are expected to embody. The women in these poems sometimes fear and sometimes knowingly provoke the male gaze. At times, they try to reconcile themselves to the violence that such attentions may bring; at others, they actively defy it. Hazen’s insights into the conflict between desire and wholeness, between self and self-destruction, are harrowing and wise. The predicaments confronted in Girls Like Us are age-old and universal—but in our current era, Hazen’s work has a particular weight, power, and value.
“Vast in scope, specific in detail, this is poetry on fire.”
Elizabeth Hazen’s poems very often begin in the realm of the personal, and by concentrating on particular details create a series of worlds that every reader can identify with. That alone is a significant achievement, and means GIRLS LIKE US is filled with touching and tender scenes. But what makes the book exceptional is the way it uses familiarity as a center from which to expand into larger and more public spheres – places which are repeatedly darkened by a sense of threat, or by hard facts of confusion and violence. The result is a very rich kind of paradox: poems that speak in a quietly meditative voice but are rife with terrors, describing a world we think we know but which turns out to be very strange.
— Andrew Motion, former UK Poet Laureate, author of Essex Clay and Coming in to Land
In GIRLS LIKE US, Elizabeth Hazen fearlessly explores self and psyche, her own and those of other women, focusing on “this inward-turning darkness” as she grapples with addiction and recovery, psychological and sexual assault, and a culture of misogyny. Wrenching in its declarations and revelations, this is a book for this particular moment, and Hazen a poet of admirable courage, unflinching honesty, and deep accomplishment.
— Elizabeth Spires, author of A Memory of the Future and The Wave-Maker
Intimate, playful, deep, and resonant, the poems in Elizabeth Hazen’s GIRLS LIKE US has, for me, a cumulative effect that is as powerfully emotional as it is emotionally empowering. Vast in scope, specific in detail, this is poetry on fire.
— Carrie Fountain, author of I’m Not Missing and Instant Winner